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Search Crews Holding Out Hope For Survivors After Hearing Banging Sounds Beneath The Rubble; Biden Claims "We Have A Deal" On Infrastructure Plan; Pelosi Announces Select Committee To Investigate January 6. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 24, 2021 - 21:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: We got to be hopeful that we hear a lot more stories like that, in the hours to come. Anderson, thank you very much, for setting the table.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

It is now 9 P.M. in Surfside, Florida. We are in the midst of the agony of the unknown. And all eyes should be on this situation. We haven't seen anything like this since 9/11.

Nearly 20 hours since half of a high-rise building went down on top of itself. And we are on the clock here, and time is of the essence. Nearly 100 people are missing, age ranges varied, families, kids.

Again, authorities are still tracking down the last known location of those 99 people who are unaccounted for. At least one person has been confirmed dead after this event. 11 so far, hurt.

Look at this as a before and after just to see what we're dealing with here. The building is 12 stories, has 136 units. 55 of them are now gone.

Rescue workers are racing to find survivors. But that doesn't mean they're going quickly. This is painstaking, meticulous, dangerous work. They are focusing - this is in the garage there. The water is from flooding. They say the flooding is controlled.

They are working in one area specifically, why? We're going to find out more about that. The early word is that there aren't too many different options for them, because of what they're dealing with, and what they could still deal with.

Officials say they're all in this parking garage, and some on top, OK? They're trying to tunnel in. They have sonar. They have searched dogs, to help them. And there may be signs of life.


RAIDE JADALLAH, ASSISTANT FIRE CHIEF OF OPERATIONS, MIAMI-DADE FIRE RESCUE: We did receive sounds, not necessarily people talking, but sounds, what sounds like people banging. Well, not people, but sounds of a possibility of a banging.


CUOMO: He has to quell everything because you don't want to give false hope. But that is what we've seen, in a lot of these situations.

You're looking now, a video from inside an apartment that someone posted on Twitter, who says she lives in one of the condos, on the side of the collapse. Luckily, she wasn't in the building, at the time.

Here are some people who were.


BARRY COHEN, WITNESS: I was in a deep sleep. And I heard a incredible bang.

And we opened up the door from our apartment. And there was a huge pile of rubble, and dust, and just havoc.

AARON MILES, WITNESS: We grabbed our children, and we started running out the door. And as we went down the stairway, for the exit emergency ramp, everybody was screaming and panicking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My nephew was here with wife, and three small children, two, six and nine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were they here visiting?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They had an apartment there.

I'm just asking God because they're in the affected area.


CUOMO: Now, there is no question that we're facing some hard realities. Yes, it's likely many of the unaccounted for were home, in the middle of the night, when this happened, about 1:30 A.M.

And yes, it is not a great sign that in the 20 hours since, there's been little progress in terms of rescue. But there is hope. Again, this work is meticulous, it's slow. It's delicate, and it's dangerous.

But even in a collapse like this, there are spaces, even in what they're calling a pancake, even in what you're seeing there, and common sense tells you is terrible, there are spaces. They are called voids. And people can be in them. We have seen it like this many times, all over the world, where people have been pulled out hours, days later.

Now, so far, 102 have been located, since it went down. 35 were rescued from the structure in the immediate aftermath.

Two more victims were pulled from the rubble including a 10-year-old boy that you were hearing about, in Anderson's show. It is a miracle he is still alive. And yet miracles can happen. And prayers are up for a lot more of them tonight.

Once we answer the all-important question of "Where is everyone?" we need to know why this happened.

Now, of course search and rescue is the priority. But officials thus far have offered no suggestion that this was intentional, or that there was a report of an explosion, or collision, or event that triggered this collapse.

So far, everything that has been detected from video, or reported by witnesses, or officials, is painfully obvious. It seemed to just collapse on itself.

Now what do we know about the building that could be helpful? It is not an unusual structure. It's an oceanfront building, north of Miami Beach, called Champlain Towers South. It was built in the 80s after the moratorium of building in the 70s had lapsed. It was one of the first to go up.


A key piece of information is that it was undergoing a recertification process. Under local law, 40-year-old buildings need that. And there were reports of the need for repairs from rust and corrosion.

However, those conditions are not in general unusual, in a seaside structure. Then again, in America, buildings like this don't just fall down this way. It's withstood hurricanes, right? And there will be an answer here.

So, let's get the latest. Let's turn to the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Daniella Levine Cava.

Mayor, I know it's been a long day. I know there are long days to come. So, thank you for joining us. How are you all doing?

MAYOR DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA, (D-FL) MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: Chris, it's been an incredible day of heroism. Our first responders have been working around the clock, and they're working all through the night.

Of course, the families, they're in despair, waiting, worrying. And we're telling them to please have hope, because we are leaving no stone unturned. As you say, there are opportunities. There are spaces. We're hopeful.

But as well, we've had incredible support, the cities, the law enforcement agencies, the fire departments up and down. And now, we've also asked for federal help. President Biden called me this morning, asked what he could do. And we're very hopeful that FEMA's support is on its way. CUOMO: In terms of whom, you are looking for, 99 are unaccounted Have you been able to find out that any of the 99 were not at home at this time?

CAVA: So, that is why we are very clear in saying that it's unaccounted for. We do not know if those people had the good fortune of being someplace else. So, we are narrowing that down.

But we had 53 that were accounted for, in the middle of the day, and we're up to 102. So, we're making great progress, with the assistance of families, loved ones. They're calling our hotline. We have a Family Reunification Center. And everybody is cooperating.

CUOMO: And just so that people understand the numbers, you had 53. That number of people you could account for went up, but the unaccounted did not go down.

CAVA: Correct. I don't know which - how many went from one list to the other.

CUOMO: Right.

CAVA: But yes, we still have 99. And it could - the 99 could go up, because many of those people might have been visiting. They might not have been registered. So, we don't really have all the information about who might have been in the building.

CUOMO: Now, what have you been told, from the search and rescue people, about why they're focusing on that one area, in particular, in the parking garage? Is that their only option right now? Or is there some kind of plan, or something we should understand about this process?

CAVA: Well, I just came from the site. I've been actually here all day on the side of the site. And there were search and rescue team members on the top. So, it's coming from below, and it's coming from on top.

And they are searching for those spaces, as you said, where they could get in. Maybe there's even a camera that they can insert. They're using the sonar, the dogs. But coming in through the bottom, there's more space there. And they have definite areas where they've been picking away.

They have displaced debris. Debris has fallen on them. Of course, they are taking risks. But they are - they know what they're doing. This is the best team in the world. These men and women have gone all over the world, to help with disasters, including 9/11.

CUOMO: Yes, I'm aware of them and their expertise. What are they saying about the risk of continuing collapse? And have all of the units that are adjacent to this one, in the other tower, are they all evacuated?

CAVA: So, we have structural engineers on site, as part of our Fire Rescue team. And so, they are in constant communication, guiding where it is safe to go for the rescue activity. And the two buildings, to the north and the south, were evacuated in

an abundance of caution. All of those people, by the way, have been relocated to hotel rooms that have been donated. And hopefully, they'll be able to get back in and get their belongings soon. But basically, yes, the two buildings are vacated.

CUOMO: Now, is it true - one of the hard realities in search and rescue like this is about the percentage of the structure that they are able to access and assess. In this particular situation, at this point, they're still pretty much at the beginning.

Is that true that they have not been able to get that far into the structure because of the nature of the challenges?


CAVA: Yes, I think that's - that is fair to say. They are bringing in cranes tonight. They are using their heavy equipment. So, they're going to be moving things very delicately, very carefully.

Clearly, the first - look, we're not even 24 hours into this. So, 2 A.M., they were on the scene. They evacuated everyone from the intact part of the building. They got out, as we said, 35 people, two more that were found on the rubble.

So, it's been an incredibly arduous task. And then, later this morning, they did start the rubble search. So, they're working hard, and they're using all the resources that they need, to listen for noises, any odors, of course, any voices, which they have not heard.

CUOMO: And as you said, and as we had heard, from other sources, there is a team of engineers. They are making sure that where they go is safe, and that the other structure isn't in danger of collapse, or at least not imminently from the extent that they can tell.

I know there isn't time right now, because the urgency is on finding people, not figuring out what happened. But have you been able to rule out any more definitely, what this wasn't about that this wasn't intentional that this wasn't something that was done to the building. Is there anything that you are able to say is not the case?

CAVA: Definitely, we are still in the investigative phase, and we're not ruling out anything, but there has been no evidence found of foul play.

CUOMO: All right, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, thank you very much. This is a time where this country has to come together, and focus on this, because there but for the grace. We've never seen anything like this since 9/11.

CAVA: Right.

CUOMO: Different circumstances, but it matters. I'm on my way down with the team tonight, right after this show. And I'll see you on the ground there tomorrow morning. CAVA: Chris, yes, and is a website, where people can make donations to the survivors, to the families,

CUOMO: The need is going to be great. Lives may well be changed, and on a big scale. We're dealing with a lot of families here. Thank you, Ms. Mayor.

CAVA: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: I'll see you again in the morning. We're here to help. Let us know how.

We will stay on this. There are going to be a lot of chapters of this. Search and rescue is slow. That does not mean that they can't find people. It would be rare for them not to. Remember that, as we enter into the night. Just doesn't happen quickly doesn't mean it's not going to happen.

Families are so unsure and dealing with the pain of the unknown. Loved ones, again, adults, kids, these are people of faith. This is a big Jewish community, and other faiths, Christian as well.

We're going to speak to a Rabbi, whose temple sits just blocks away. He knows a lot of people well, who were unaccounted for, from that building. Some perspective on who we're looking for, and how many might be affected, next.









CUOMO: You just heard the Mayor of Miami-Dade right here. They're not giving up. There'd be no reason to. These situations take time.

Again, we have seen, all over the world, people found hours, days, in some case, even a week or so, after something like this. So, there is cause for hope. But this work is very dangerous and slow. And it is a race against time.

Now, that said no, the number of the unaccounted has not moved, since early this morning, when rescuers first got on the scene. Now, that doesn't mean that some of the people that they're looking for may not have been in the building, and it doesn't mean that others weren't visiting, who are not registered and not known. So, the unknown is the agony here.

But there are people who are missing, who should have been able to be contacted. And there's already so much pain in this community. That includes members of Temple Menorah, which is just a block away, from the scene.

With me now, the leader of that temple, Rabbi Eliot Pearlson.

Rabbi, thank you for joining me.


CUOMO: Well we have never seen anything like this since 9/11, different circumstances, but just the moment of tragedy.

So many, affected in an instant, in your own congregation. You know people that can't be found right now. Is it true three generations of one family, from the Temple, cannot be accounted for right now?

PEARLSON: Three members of the community, correct. And we're praying, we're hoping. And like you said, miracles occur every day. And we're praying for a miracle this evening as well.

CUOMO: What are you hearing from the congregants about the shock of who is missing, and who they're looking for, and what the concerns are?

PEARLSON: I think people are - it's hard to explain. This doesn't happen in America. It doesn't happen in Miami Beach. Doesn't happen in our homes. And it's very difficult for us to comprehend how it's possible.

We lived through hurricanes. But hurricanes, you get three days, four days warning, "Should I leave? Should I stay?" And this, it's a tremendous shock. It's - and the numbers, and the devastation, is it's unprecedented.

And we've lived through hurricanes such as Hurricane Andrew or Wilma, but it's not the same. It's really tragic. I'm not sure, the best way to express the amount of pain and suffering that people are, and the anxiety that people are, feeling right now.

CUOMO: You were at the site today.



CUOMO: Meeting with family members. There were still parts of the building falling down. Luckily, they've evacuated the adjacent, the other towers. What were you hearing, and what were you saying to people, in a moment like this?

PEARLSON: People want to know why did God allow this to - why did - why did it happen? Why did God allow it? And as a person of faith, and I have to tell you, one of the most

amazing things I saw, and it's very appropriate, is that instead of asking, where was God, or why did God allow this to happen, let's look at it from a completely different perspective.

What did I see? I saw Catholic chaplains, African American pastors, Orthodox rabbis, Conservative rabbis, Reform rabbis, I saw our community coming together, and reaching out to people, who are in pain and suffering.

And you want to know where God was? God was with us. God was being expressed in the love and the compassion that our community was showing for one another. And that's where God is. God is in each, in every one of us, especially when we reach out to people, when they're in pain and suffering.

And what did I feel? I felt a tremendous sense of solace and comfort, knowing that so many people care about one another, regardless of religion and faith and, color of skin. It was an amazing thing in a time of pain and suffering.

CUOMO: How are you preparing for the days ahead?

PEARLSON: Well, we're going to have an emergency prayer service tomorrow. On the Sabbath, on Shabbat, we're going to have special prayers for healing. And we're not only praying for those we're missing. We're going to be praying for our firefighters and our police, who are putting their lives on line.

I have to tell you, when I walked past Ground Zero, there was row after row after row of firefighters, who are literally waiting to rush into a building that can fall at any time. And we're going to pray for them, and pray for these first responders that are putting their life on the line, so that lives can be saved.

And that's how we hope to respond in such a way that we reinvigorate us, in showing appreciation for that which we do still have.

CUOMO: The difficulty here, the challenge here is that while the seminal event is over, the building has collapsed, hopefully, there is not more of that, the story of the cost has just begun.

And this is going to be - sometimes in crisis, as you said, the worst of situations brings out the best of us. This scale of people being affected, 99 people, dozens of families, generations, in some cases, how do you deal with the magnitude?

PEARLSON: So, as a person of faith, I do believe in God. I know that God is with us. I feel God's presence. And that for me, is, on a very personal level, empowers me to do what I need to do.

And I know that God wants us to heal and to be strong. And that's how I get through every minute, and every moment, and every painful situation, just like this, not just today, but every day.

And I think that if people can always remember that God loves us, and God wants us to be healthy, and God wants us to love one another, I think that will give us what we need, to see through not only this difficult time, but difficult times in the future, as well.

CUOMO: It's been told me more than once by people of faith that the faith doesn't help you avoid a situation. The faith helps you deal with the situations that come. And this will certainly, almost certainly, be one of those situations.

Rabbi Eliot Pearlson, again, Pearlson, I'll be on the ground, after the show tonight. We're going to cover this. We're going to cover it all day. And we're going to be there and see what the resolve is. And we'll be there. Let us know if we can help.

PEARLSON: Thank you. Absolutely.

CUOMO: All right, Rabbi, be well. And again, we're a call away.

PEARLSON: God bless. God bless.

CUOMO: God bless.

So, look, the daunting question is why did this happen? This doesn't happen in America. This wasn't a hurricane, it took out a piece, took out a warehouse. It wasn't a fire. It wasn't a ConEd explosion or whatever the natural supplier is there. Why did this happen?

We have someone who knows the guts of this fallen tower. He inspected it years ago. What are the questions? Where do they begin? What are the suggestions at this point? What do we know from how it looks? Next.









CUOMO: Search and rescue efforts will go throughout the night. This is delicate work. It's dangerous work. The reason that the search and rescuers are fixed on this one position in the basement is that you don't have a lot of options.

This has been referred to as a jigsaw puzzle, doesn't really make sense, because you're dealing with dimensions of verticality here. It's more like Jenga. You know that game, where all the different little sticks are layered? And as you pull them out, each pull has ramifications that have a chain effect. So that's the now.

The future question is how did this happen? What caused it? Would it have been preventable? These are answerable.

And one man, whose mother and grandmother are among the 99 missing, tells CNN, his mother told him she heard creaking noises, a day before the building collapse.

Asked about it, an attorney for the Condo Residents Association says this.


KENNETH DIREKTOR, ATTORNEY FOR ASSOCIATION OF RESIDENTS WHERE CONDO COLLAPSED: It doesn't shock me because buildings creak and make noise.

I've been at this for 40 years. No matter how bad the concrete has gotten, nobody has ever seen anything like this occur, as a result of spalling concrete.



CUOMO: Spalling, S-P-A-L-L-I-N-G refers to the surface of concrete breaking or peeling away. It's sometimes indicative of a deeper, more structural issue, how?

You know what rebar is, that goes inside concrete, the metal bars, you see them sticking out sometimes? If there's a little space and a little humidity, they start to rust, especially adjacent to saltwater, the ocean.

And as that happens, they will expand, and they can actually push concrete and other building materials out, as that happens, and you will see cracks. That's a possibility.

It's not that unusual in a seaside building to have some degree of corrosion. But for it to collapse on itself, we need more perspective. And we have a structural engineer, who is familiar with this building. His name is Greg Batista, and he joins us now.

Thank you, sir, for doing this, on short notice.


CUOMO: So first, what we're hearing, "I heard creaking. There was spalling. It's doing its 40-year recertification, and there were repairs needed for some rust and corrosion, some roofing."

Is there anything that you've heard, that raises concern?

BATISTA: Well, let me be clear about something. The concrete repair and the spalling problem does cause eventual collapses. I mean, I've been on buildings, and I've been part - I've been doing this for 30 years. And I've done hundreds of 40-year recertifications, been on hundreds or even thousands of inspections.

And spalling can get to a point that if not repaired, it can lead to eventual collapse. And I've been to places where there have been collapses of floors, of beams, of columns, and obviously not something not nearly as much as what we see here.

But yes, it could be - it could be either the main factor, or one of the factors, such as there may have been some, as I've read, in some articles that there were some - there was a study made that part of the building was - was maybe - was subsiding a little bit. So, maybe that or a confluence of those different issues can easily cause this kind of collapse.

CUOMO: So, is there anything that you see with your trained eyes, that we won't catch in the video of how this went down, or what you're hearing about what's happening in the basement, or how it looks to you now?

BATISTA: Well, the biggest telltale sign, when I saw this, this morning, I could have sworn that it was that it began from the top to the bottom, like can happen on a lot of these buildings, where you have a lot of - a lot of balconies that collapse. And it starts sometimes from the top to the bottom. And I've seen that happen firsthand.

But having - after having seen the video, I saw that - you see the actual building coming down and the actual collapse begins on one of the lower floors. So, immediately, I see that something happened down there. And what I've told everybody that I've been in contact with is that all it takes is one column.

And you made an excellent analogy about the Jenga that all it takes is one column. Maybe it was a column on the ground floor, maybe it was a column in the garage where that can fail, whether it's due to - due to settling, or due to spalling, or a confluence of those. All it takes is one column, and everything can come down like a Jenga.

CUOMO: Unfortunately, I don't know that you were in it. It was a while ago. But after 9/11, those of us covering it, and looking for loved ones, learned quite an education about these things happen.

The Trade Center was a unique situation. It was a unique catalyst. It was a unique temperature point. It was a unique construction point of an interior spine that it had that is all different than this situation.

And yet, and yet, we do not see buildings collapse like this, in this country. And what does that mean to you, in terms of what the universe of possibility is here?

BATISTA: Well, for one, I've been following for years, the studies that have been made by the Army Corps of Engineers, about the crumbling infrastructure.

Because a lot of times these buildings are very complex, complex environments, complex beams that they're comprised of beams and slabs and columns. And they need maintenance.

And I've seen up and down the coast, hundreds of buildings, where you have concrete problems. And if not maintained, whether it's a concrete problem, whether it's a settling problem, it could be a bridge, it could be a building, it could be a dam or a seawall, these kind of things happen if not tended to.

And I'm glad that the Congress recently passed an infrastructure bill that provides repairs to this crumbling infrastructure, because if money is not provided to repair these things, this is just a taste of what's to come.

CUOMO: Right.

BATISTA: Whether it's bridges or walls or anything.


CUOMO: Let's deal with the instance circumstance. Is it correct for us to suggest that there is hope, because even when something pancakes like this, whether it starts at the bottom, when you have layers of compression like this, that there are still voids, there are spaces, and arches, and areas made, where you could have many possible spaces, for survival?

BATISTA: Yes, it is possible. And if you go back to videos of buildings crumbling, in the past, you've seen miracles of babies pulling out - being pulled out of small voids, either the day after, the week after.

There's certainly a possibility that this can happen here. But until the rescue workers do their - do their job, and engineers do their job, to go in and try to do things safely, then we won't find out the answers for sure.

But my heart goes out to those people, the family members, and hopefully that like the Rabbi said, we can - we can pray for a miracle, and something happens.

CUOMO: Many miracles may be possible in this situation.

Greg Batista, thank you for the insight. Obviously, we're going to learn more. And as we do, I'd like to call on you, and how what we learn squares with your understanding, of how it applies to this building, and what it means happened. Thank you, sir.

BATISTA: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, we're going to stay on this story. Look, there's something else to think about with this, all right? I really hope that we haven't forgotten how to care about one another in this situation. We found so many ways to hold ourselves apart.

Very often crisis reminds us that we ain't so different from one another. There but for the grace, any of us could be worried about somebody who should have been in that building or was in that building. Remember that.

And I want that as a frame of context for what we're going to cover now after this, which is the exact opposite of what we're seeing on the ground in Florida. There, everybody is running into a dangerous situation, to try to make something good happen.

It's like the opposite in our nation's capital. And that's why hopefully, President Biden, announcing news of a new infrastructure deal is a little bit of hope that all hope is not lost. He calls it "A true bipartisan effort."

Potentially big news! I am a skeptic. Why? Well, have you heard Speaker Pelosi? Have you heard Mitch McConnell? Have you heard what others are saying? I don't think this is a lock.

And I want to bring in James Carville for how he sees the state of play here, about how we got to hear, and what has to happen next.









CUOMO: The President is talking big talk. He says he has a deal on infrastructure. Listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Your direct question, we have a deal.


CUOMO: I don't even know what he said. I hope you could hear it.

Lots of talk about compromise, but at the same time, even he says there has to be a second bill, to include all the stuff he cut from this bill.


BIDEN: I'm not just signing the bipartisan bill and forgetting about the rest I - that I proposed. I proposed a significant piece of legislation in three parts. And all - all three parts are equally important. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: I don't get it. If you want to know why, just listen to what members of his own party are saying about what the White House is selling as a major legislative win.


SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): Way too small. Paltry. Pathetic.

REP. JOHN YARMUTH (D-KY): I'm never overly optimistic about - about deals here.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): I think that a bipartisan deal alone is pretty dead in the water.


CUOMO: It's never going to be enough for AOC, and the left wing of that party. But how done is this deal? Let's take it to the better mind of James Carville.

Welcome back.

This idea that we got a deal done here, but now, you got all these Democrats, Bernie Sanders talking about, wanting $6 trillion, on the next bill, Joe Manchin saying that's never going to happen?

He's open to reconciliation, because the Republicans obviously aren't dealing in good faith, because they won't vote against any tax measures, because Mitch McConnell won't let them.

But what are we seeing here? Are the Democrats in the right headspace?


JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, CO-HOST, "POLITICS WAR ROOM" PODCAST: Yes. Well, what's happening, what you're seeing, Chris, is that you're seeing legislative posturing.

So, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is saying, "Well, this is not enough. It's paltry," and it's moving back and forth. And you're just going to see a lot of this jocking and posturing going on probably for the rest of the summer.

But I think that Biden is - the President has put something out there that people have to respond to. And of course, we don't have the votes. We need Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema on reconciliation. And he also made that part of it.

And people are talking about $6 trillion. You're not going to get that. That's just utterly impossible with the current count that we have in the House and the Senate.

So something will come out of here, I hope. It probably won't look like it looks today. But it - this is - we just got something started. I mean, we're talking and we got the ball in play. So, I think that's a significant step forward, I really do.

CUOMO: So, you do believe this is a significant step forward?

CARVILLE: Well, only if it is what - I think what we'll - honestly would say it could be a significant step forward. It starts - it's starting a process. They had 20 that sat down and negotiated something. Everybody's engaged in talking back and forth.

And can I tell you that it's not going to collapse? Of course, I can't say that no one can say that. But you got to start somewhere. And I think the President is by putting this out there, you start putting heat on people.

And of course, you're going to have some Republicans saying, "You know, this is too big spending, and it's going to cause inflation, and yada-yada-yada." But you're not going to start - you're not going to get anything moving until you start something. And this is a start. And I think we should like say, "OK, this is good."

And it may collapse. But and there's a lot of - going to be a lot of pressure because people - this is popular. Understand this. These politicians know that. Infrastructure spending is popular. And you don't want to be the first person to pull out of this, to look like you don't want it.

And people know that we have crumbling infrastructure in this country. And they do like the idea at some level of bipartisanship.


So, at least the President looks like he's talking to people, is trying to put people together. And if they want to pull out, that's going to be to their political detriment. They have something at risk in this too. Understand that. It's very important for us to understand that. This is fraught with political risk for the Republicans also.

CUOMO: I guess my misgiving is based on the fact that it took so long to just take a first step, kind of like with the voting rights? They knew that bill was dead on arrival. And yet, it took months to get to this point. I mean is this the way you would be trying to get these things through?

CARVILLE: Well, remember, Trump was Mr. Infrastructure. He had majorities in the House and the Senate for two years. They were kept - "We're going to have infrastructure week." He was the cloture. Nothing happened.

CUOMO: Yes, but that's Trump.

CARVILLE: We got something.

CUOMO: He was a - he was a fraud. I'm saying, you guys--

CARVILLE: I understand that.

CUOMO: --is this the way you would have done it? CARVILLE: I'm not a legislative mechanic. But to the extent of the politics of it, I think it's better to have something out there, and then let them pull it back. But right now, I think if you go poll this, the public likes the idea of--

CUOMO: Sure.

CARVILLE: --infrastructure spending. They liked the idea of people talking to each other.

So yes, I don't know if I'd done it exactly like this. But if I was in a political meeting, and somebody said, "James, what do you think?" I'd say, "It's good to get it out there, and then let them react to it." And I think we're - I think we got some high ground here.

And when like AOC and other people in the party of Senator Sanders attack it then that's just going to make it, in some quarters, more likely to happen. This is - none of this is necessarily bad. It's a start. That's the point I would make to you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, I'll take it. I'll take any cause for optimism. I'll be honest with you.

CARVILLE: Well again, I'm not telling you it's going to happen. But I'll tell you what. Nothing is going to happen unless you start.

CUOMO: That is true.


CUOMO: I just feel like they could have gotten to this same point three months ago.


CARVILLE: Yes, I get that.

CUOMO: I don't know what the last three months bought them. That's all I'm just trying to say. Time is on the Republicans' side, not on your side.

CARVILLE: OK. They've got the ball in their court too. And again, I go back, they have some issues. And look, wish we were faster. But we have - we got a 50/50 Senate. We got a four-vote House.

CUOMO: True.

CARVILLE: It's kind of odd to jam stuff through, with that - those kind of numbers.

CUOMO: I hear you. And I think we're going to see that play out as well. James Carville, always a pleasure. I hope to see you soon.

CARVILLE: You bet. Thank you, Chris. Terrible story in Florida just got awful. Oh, what a good job (ph). CUOMO: Yes. But hopefully, people got to pay attention, remember that we care for one another that it's not Red and Blue. It's that at the end of the day, all of us are the same.


CUOMO: And we're going to head down there, and try and help those people up.

All right, look, bipartisanship, we're not seeing it in places that matter. January 6 should have been a no brainer. A lot of this stuff should. So Pelosi is going to form her own committee to investigate the terror attack on the Capitol. OK. But what does that mean?

Let's bring in former top FBI official to see what that investigation can do, next.









CUOMO: Pelosi announced that today, the House is moving forward with a select committee to investigate January 6th, giving Democrats unilateral subpoena power. Meanwhile, the criminal investigation, on that day, hit a milestone.

DOJ is now up to 500 arrests. If we take stock, we see almost 200 of those charges for obstructing congressional proceedings. It's a charge that carries the same sentence as sedition. Almost 100 of what some Republicans say were basically tourists are charged with assaulting a federal law enforcement officer. Odd thing for tourists to do, no?

Let's dig into where this stands with the former Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe.

How compelling to you is a congressional - a House investigation?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR, FBI: Well Chris, it's not what we wanted. It's not ideal, but it is something right? And knowing that the House Democrats will retain unilateral authority, to issue subpoenas, is a good sign, because without subpoena authority, this goes absolutely nowhere.

But in addition to that, what they absolutely need are some credible insiders, people who understand the federal agencies that are at play here, specifically DHS and the FBI, and people who have the access to classified, and the knowledge of the internal workings, and the documents and the - and the employees of those agencies, to go in and ask the right hard questions, and to bring those folks in and hear what they knew, and what they did with what they knew, prior to January 6.

So, there's a lot of work that needs to be done. And hopefully, this select committee will get it done.

CUOMO: My question is, if you don't nail this, at the planning level, that there were bigger brains in doing this, it wasn't spontaneous, don't you run the risk of any prosecutions just seen as victimizing people, on the Right that that's the way the Right will see it?

And so, this falls on the DOJ to make cases against organizers, planners, in advance, do you agree or no?

MCCABE: I do agree. I think - I think you have to kind of separate out the effort to hold people criminally responsible, for what they did on January 6th. And that is firmly in the DOJ's laying, right? And these are the 500 cases you were just talking about.

The congressional inquiry, through the select committee, should be to find out how government works better. How did our federal agencies and our local police forces fail to prevent this terrorist attack, on the Capitol, on January 6?

The FBI's number one priority is preventing a terrorist attack in this country. They didn't do that, on January 6th, and we need to know why. What happened and how can we do it better?

CUOMO: Do you think that there is any dark unknown here? Or do you think it was basically what we saw?

MCCABE: Oh, I think there's much more - much more to be known than what we've seen, and even what we've heard of, through the criminal cases.


I still think it's absolutely essential to figure out what Intelligence was there? What did we know? What didn't we know? How could we have known more and understood better? And how were those warning signs interpreted by the folks who had them?

I think there's a lot to be peeled back and understood here. And until we get to that core, we're not going to be able to protect this country against the next attack. And that's the most important thing.

CUOMO: So, the best thing Congress could do is kind of uncover how this was handled at the governmental level. And the DOJ can either bring--

MCCABE: I think that's right. CUOMO: --bring down organizers, or show that there were things that were known that were ignored that point to a bigger activity ring, and that that has to be looked at as well.

We'll see. This is where it is. We'll see where it goes.


CUOMO: And we'll bring you in all along the way. Andrew McCabe, thank you very much. Appreciate you.

We'll be right back.

MCCABE: Thanks, Chris.








CUOMO: We are going to keep watching and following the developments in Florida. There is plenty of reason for hope. We've seen amazing things happen, over time, once this delicate work starts going. It takes time. This is not easy. It's dangerous.

Thank you for watching. Don Lemon is going to pick up the coverage.